Mike Joyce (The Smiths)

English Drummer Michael Adrian Paul “Mike” Joyce was born 1 June 1963 in Manchester to Irish Catholic parents. He attended St Gregory’s Grammar School in the city., he had previously drummed for Manchester band The Hoax and Irish punk rock group Victim. Joyce then joined The Smiths alongside vocalist Morrissey, guitarist Johnny Marr, bassist Andy Rourke and Joyce. This provided him with his first taste of success and was a member of The Smiths throughout the band’s existence (1982–87).

Sadly in 1987 the Smiths disbanded and Immediately after the break-up of the band, Joyce and Smiths bassist Andy Rourke played with Sinéad O’Connor. They, along with Craig Gannon, also provided the rhythm section for two singles by Smiths’ singer Morrissey – “Interesting Drug” and “The Last of the Famous International Playboys” and their b-sides. Work with Suede, Buzzcocks, Public Image Limited, Julian Cope, P. P. Arnold and Pete Wylie followed throughout the 1990s. Joyce, Rourke, and Gannon reunited to work on a project with fellow Manchester musician Aziz Ibrahim (formerly of The Stone Roses and Simply Red), ex-Oasis guitarist Bonehead (as Moondog One), and Vinny Peculiar.

The Smiths breakup started in 1996, when Joyce controversially sued former Smiths’ colleagues Johnny Marr and Morrissey for an equal share of performance and recording royalties. Joyce won the case and was awarded damages of around one million pounds from Morrissey and Marr. According to Morrissey, who unsuccessfully appealed Joyce’s claims, Joyce first sued Morrissey and Marr in 1989 for 25% of The Smiths’ recording royalties. In 1996, Joyce won the case “on the basis of the 1890 Partnership Act”. The next year (1997), according to Morrissey, “Joyce was paid £ 215, 000 from me, and 215,000 pounds from Johnny Marr.

In 2001, as a final payment of back royalties, Johnny Marr paid Joyce 260 thousand pounds, plus ‘costs’. At this time I Morrissey was in the US and was not served with court proceedings, so Joyce obtained a Default Judgment. He then put forward a claim from me for 688 thousand pounds – well above and beyond the amount Johnny Marr was ordered to pay. In my absence, the figure was not contested. … Since 2001, and because of the Default Judgment against me, Joyce has taken out Third Party Orders against the following societies: my personal bank account in England, Smiths royalties from Warner Music, my personal PRS royalties, my personal PPL royalties, and he has attempted to seize UK concert fees from venue to venue. This money, to date, totals 700 thousand pounds. This figure is in addition to the figures mentioned above.” Morrissey went on to claim that the Joyce action is continuous. Because of his Default Judgment he continues to take my royalties, and the royalties of others mentioned above, from Warner Music – consequently I have not received record royalties since 2001.”

In July 2007, Joyce, along with former bandmate Andy Rourke released Inside The Smiths, a DVD which chronicled their experiences of being in the band. In October 2007, Joyce toured the UK playing drums for Vinny Peculiar with Bonehead on bass guitar, and in 2008 ran a successful night at The Brickhouse in Manchester called “Alternative Therapy”. In parallel to his music career, he works as a DJ and broadcaster, including occasional appearances on BBC 6 Music. Joyce has also hosted shows on East Village Radio, an internet station.

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